Senegal is having a bet at the WHO’s Covax initiative

The Minister of Health presented on Wednesday 13 January in the Council of Ministers a vaccine strategy for President Macky Sall as part of the fight against Covid-19. The country is part of the joint initiative “Covax”, the mechanism monitored by the World Health Organization, for a group purchase of vaccines. But at the same time, the authorities are in talks with China about acquiring doses.

as reported from Dakar, Charlotte Idrac

It is a two-pronged strategy: Senegal is dependent on vaccines from the Covax initiative. WHO is in discussions with Pfizer and Moderna. However, the first doses are not expected before the end of next March.

At the same time, the Senegalese government has therefore developed a national strategy following instructions from the head of state. “Issues of sovereignty” indicates a presidency official. The country has begun negotiations with the Chinese laboratory SinoPharm.

In a tweet published Tuesday but withdrawn a few hours later, the health minister referred to a “donation” of 200,000 doses from China before stepping back. “Discussions” are underway, said Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr.

The implementation of this new vaccination strategy is “urgent” and will be provided with “a significant budget” according to the press release from the Council of Ministers on Wednesday evening without further details.

Three groups will be targeted as a priority: health workers, people with comorbidity, and the elderly. According to the Ministry of Health, this represents about 20% of the population.

In addition to effectiveness, the choice of a vaccine for Senegal is also linked to the storage method: the country does not have equipment suitable for vaccines to be stored at -20 or -70 degrees.

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